Modern Indian politics presents a bizarre combination of two things: one, a new India and two, an old and moribund mentality. Take for example, the recent remark made by Lalu Prasad, a politician who used to make an impact on the country's politics in the 1990s but not any more.
He has said that Narendra Modi's election as the country's prime minister will see triggering of communal riots. He mocked Modi as a prime ministerial candidate of foreigners and also described the latter as a 'termite' eating into the secular tree of the country.
This certification of Modi by Lalu Prasad is a comedy but it fails to arouse any laughter. What was the RJD leader trying to establish through his words? What secularism does he and the like-minded politicians of this country actually profess?
Nobody really cares about what Prasad has to say. It is a divine favour that people like Lalu Prasad has met a political death today and they try to revive a hope by attacking somebody whom time favours. But the worry is: It is this old and misfitting India which stands on the way of the emergence of the new India.
Narendra Modi leader of new India...
Narendra Modi is a leader of the changed India which aspires for a greater height. There can be no denying that the main rightist force of this country, the BJP, has understood this truth very well and there is little chance that it will go back to religious politics like that of the 1980s and 1990s for it will earn it nothing.
There will be periodic cry for 'return to Hindutva' because that is the basic foundation of the Sangh Parivar's existence but overall, there is no possibility of Hindutva of replacing development agenda for the rightist forces. Narendra Modi's electoral success is the biggest example of this while his party's debacle in the local urban polls in Karnataka shows how misgovernance is rejected by new India, irrespective of political colour.
Lalu Prasad that of the obsolete india...
People like Lalu Prasad and the so-called secular forces of the country, including the Congress, have not learnt to keep up the pace with time. It is a big irony that the secular forces are more than bothered about riots in a changed India. Where is riot happening in India today? Don't they understand that the post-liberalisation India has other priorities in life than to bay for each other's blood?
And even if riots are an integral part of the nation's history, have these secular forces protected their people from rioters when the responsibility fell on them? It is so much hypocritical to demonise one man for riots when there have been more dreadful riots in other parts of the country under rule of secular forces. No voice is ever heard from any quarter about the victims of those riots. Why? Just because the 2002 riots were seen live on TV and hence they made a bigger impact?
Lalu desperate to keep Nitish Kumar away from Congress
It is a shame that the so-called liberal media in this country judge history with such partiality and allow people like Lalu Prasad to speak with no practical vision. Prasad is so rattled by the Congress's flirtations with his rival Nitish Kumar that he has started speaking trash to win accolades from the Congress, which is the only hope to keep him alive in politics.
He even praised shower on the prime minister after the latter congratulated Kumar for his good work in Bihar. Shameless, Mr Prasad. And as far as riots are concerned, what about the 1989 Bhagalpur riots? And what about Kameshwar Yadav?
Does Lalu Prasad dream that he would stop the Hindutva chariot once again and subsequently revisit the golden age of his political career? Little chance of that happening. Times have changed. December 6, 1992, is a long, long way back.
Modi made his way to the top, Lalu remained an entertainer
If Narendra Modi is indeed responsible for the riots, he did not allow the accusations to remain the final words. Ten years since the riots, Narendra Modi has established a new identity, and that of an able administrator. What did Prasad do during his party's 15-year tenure in Bihar? Could he take his state's name out of the humiliating acronym BIMARU? Bihar remained a national tragedy till his arch-rival took over. The frustration is understandable but why target an able person to forget his own inability?
But Lalu isn't the only moral judge either...
The buck doesn't end with Prasad's convenient conscience either. Morality is a very partisan term these days. Every time we switch on the TV, pundits are seen raising serious objection on Modi's elevation as the PM. Why don't they speak about the several other riots that took place in Gujarat alone in the past?
The riots of 1969 (when the Congress was in power in the state) were more devastating than that of 2002. The year 1985 had also seen severe riots and the Congress was in power then as well. Why don't we hear a word on these in terms of justice and human rights violation? Not to speak about the 1948 or 1984 killings and several others that had rocked the country at various points of history.
Riots had engulfed Gujarat towards the late 1980s and early 1990s after the rise of the Hindutva wave but what was the secular forces of the day doing then? Religious politics remained an integral part of polarised societies in the country those days. There is no point in targetting one man for all the ills today. Such moral high ground is of little meaning.
Riots are not a part of life in today's India. The country's socio-cultural landscape says there can not be uniform riots throughout and it doesn't make a difference whether Narendra Modi becomes the PM or not. The BJP itself is a soft project of the hardline rightist ideology.
It's a pity that the vague idea of secularism in this country has equated the thought process of Lalu Prasad with some of the best-rated liberal minds.
Modi won't mind though.